Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Richard Piatt ReportingThe people who will be fighting Utah's wildfires are asking you to 'Do Your Part’ and ‘Don’t Start' a wildfire. You'll be hearing that slogan a lot this year, it's a campaign to help prevent human-caused fires.
Careless people are to blame for the worst wildfires in Utah last year. So in 2004, firefighting agencies have come together with new weapons, including a PR campaign and the internet. Utah Fire information is now a click away online at www.utahfireinfo.gov.
It includes the latest on current fires, how to protect your home, weather information, and more. The information is a joint effort from five state and federal agencies now using cooperation as a firefighting tool.
Brandon Everett, USFS Firefighter: "You really got lucky there weren't more fires in the Salt Lake area, in the Red Butte area and areas along the urban interface, those areas are primed and ready to go."
Fire was close to homes in Farmington canyon last July, a scene that could be repeated anywhere this year. Crews say they're ready for it though.
Jamie Hill, BLM Firefighter: "We do checks every morning and go through everything on our engines, even if we haven't had a fire."
Fires like the Apex fire near Saint George last year are also expensive. It was a 30-thousand acre blaze caused by kids playing with matches.
Joel Frandsen, State Forester: "We catch 99 percent of them normally on initial attack, and that doesn't cost much. It's when we have the large fires that expand, that's when we start getting the costs involved and that's when it starts getting expensive."
Money is one reason the big air-attack tankers have been grounded this year. But smaller airplanes and helicopters are expected to take up the slack. Still, every firefighter agrees preventing fires is better than any piece of equipment they use.